Saturday, June 25, 2022

AGT Season 17: Who Are the Mayyas? The Lebanese dance group carries a golden buzzer with a message of women’s empowerment

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After winning Arab’s Got Talent and making it to the prelims of Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions, the Mayyas have their eye on AGT.

Lebanese all-female dance company ‘The Mayyas’, led by choreographer Nadim Cherfan, made their big debut in the recently televised episode of ‘America’s Got Talent’ Season 17. Determined to break the stereotypes about Arab women, and with a powerful message of female empowerment, the group managed to impress all the judges and even bag a gold buzzer from Sofia Vergara!

After being named the winners of “Arab’s Got Talent” and making it to the prelims of “Britani’s Got Talent: The Champions,” the Mayyas are looking to win over American audiences as well. In the meantime, while we wait and see if the dance troupe will win the $1 million grand prize and the opportunity to headline in Las Vegas, you can read all about The Mayyas and their inspiring performance here. You can also check out the other Golden Buzzer winners – stories by Avery Dixon, Maddie Baez and Sara James.


Who are the Mayyas?

‘The Mayyas’, which means the proud gait of a lioness in Arabic, couldn’t be a more appropriate name for this Lebanese dance group. The Mayyas was founded by Lebanese choreographer Nadim Cherfan. In an interview with Arab News, Nadim revealed that the dance crew was put together after he decided to take part in Arab’s Got Talent. “Mayyas was created for Arab’s Got Talent after I made the decision to apply for Season 6. The crew consists of 50 professional dancers,” he told the news outlet.

The dancers explained in their introductory pack how it is not easy for a Middle Eastern woman to make a career out of dancing, but the Mayyas gave them a safe space to explore the dance. The dancers also hoped that their performance would encourage and empower more women to do whatever they want. Nadim explained, “I chose a female crew because I wanted to convey a message about women’s empowerment, as we all know that Arab women are still referred to as dancers until now. I wanted to prove how elegant, sophisticated and beautiful dancing is. And who can do that better than these gorgeous ladies?”

Nadim also shared what led him to take up dancing and eventually founding The Mayyas. “Unfortunately, the dance scene in the Middle East was timid at the time and there weren’t many dance schools. I couldn’t get the proper education at a young age, despite being fully aware of my talent and spending hours daily in front of my mirror in my room trying to figure out body movements that mimic what I saw on TV.” I was 14 when) I started taking lessons from professionals in Lebanon and attending workshops in the US, UK and India. And I fell more and more in love with dancing and I’m falling in love more every day.” he added.

He began teaching others at the age of 20, starting with just three girls. “I have continued to do so, raising a large number of students who have grown with me. Today, 200 students are currently attending my classes.” From these 200, Mayyas was born.

Dressed all in black, the Mayyas girls declared that they would “hypnotize” the judges. True to her words, the judges – Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia – were mesmerized and speechless after watching her performance. The judges and studio audience watched in awe as the dancers moved their bodies and hands in perfectly synchronized style. From images of the evil eye on their palms to feathers, the group used a variety of props to showcase their rich culture and heritage.

At the end of their performance, the judges were left with no choice but to give them a unanimous yes! Considering the group got the golden buzzer, we’ll have to wait until the live round to see their performance again.

Season 17 of America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC. After the show premieres, you can watch brand new episodes every Tuesday from 8pm to 10pm ET/PT. Viewers who want to watch the show wirelessly can do so through one of the following streaming services: Sling TV, fuboTV, Hulu With Live TV, AT&T TV, or YouTube TV.

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